The Other Side of Sadness

What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss (2nd edition)

“Fascinating and readable . . . a sensitive and sensible view of loss.” The New York Times

“There are a lot of books on bereavement and now you can throw them all away. The Other Side of Sadness is a game changer. Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Brief summary

In this thoroughly revised and updated classic, a renowned psychologist shows that mourning is far from predictable, and all of us share a surprising ability to be resilient

The conventional view of grieving–encapsulated by the famous five stages of grief–is defined by a mourning process that we can only hope to accept and endure.

In The Other Side of Sadness, award-winning psychologist George Bonanno uses gripping stories and compelling research findings to argue otherwise. Although grieving is never easy, most people manage to endure the pain of loss and move on to lead normal healthy, lives in far less time that usually believed.

To expect or require only grief-stricken behavior from the bereaved does them more harm than good. In fact, grieving goes beyond mere sadness, and can involve deep interpersonal connections and even periods of joy and comfort. This is a book for anyone who is interested in the broad range of human experiences of loss

Praise for The Other Side of Sadness

“This is a valuable book for Bonanno's application of the scientific method to a field that badly needs it.” New Scientist

"Bonanno's work . . . has redefined the science of grief research." The Atlantic

“Fascinating and readable… a sensitive and sensible view of loss.” New York Times

“No one has done more to transform our understanding of how people cope with the loss of a loved one than George Bonanno. His landmark research overturns engrained myths about mourning, and identifies sources of human resilience in the face of loss. The Other Side of Sadness is an excellent, emotionally moving account of how people overcome the pangs of grief.” Richard J. McNally, Harvard University; author of Remembering Trauma

“Bonanno, the most productive and influential bereavement researcher in America today, has changed the scientific landscape in the field of grief and bereavement.” Camille Wortman, Stony Brook University

“There are a lot of books on bereavement and now you can throw them all away. Bonanno carefully assembles scientific evidence to show that most of what we thought we knew is just plain wrong. The Other Side of Sadness is a game changer. There’s nothing else like it. If you want to know the truth about the human experience of loss, there’s only one book on the shelf.” Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of Stumbling on Happiness

“Bonanno acknowledges that grief is sometimes extreme and requires treatment, much like post-traumatic stress disorder. But with this work, science and common sense come together in a thoughtful, kindhearted way; stories of loss go far beyond striking a familiar chord—they give us hope.” Publishers Weekly

“The Other Side of Sadness is brilliant and moving. Bonanno turns our thinking about loss on its head. He reveals the subtle and myriad ways we are resilient, how we find new layers of meaning, why we laugh, and gain insight when loved ones pass. This inspiring book will fill you with wisdom about the other side of loss, and make life immeasurably richer.” Dacher Keltner, University of California Berkeley, author of Born To Be Good and The Power Paradox

“The Other Side of Sadness paints a refreshingly new and scientifically-grounded portrait of the grieving process, one infused with positivity, laughter, and enduring bonds. Anyone interested in the emotional nuances of the human condition will value this warm, engaging, and accessible book.” Barbara L. Fredrickson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, author of Positivity and Love 2.0

“Illuminating…while the popular and the professional literature on death and dying continue to surge, Bonanno's work manages to offer a clearly professed alternative way to understand grief that will be a refreshing new resource for professionals, as well as for the grieving.” Library Journal

“George Bonanno’s ground-breaking research on grief illuminates mankind’s profound capacity for resilience, and shows us how to find meaning in life after death.” Jim Whitaker, Film produced and director, Founder and Director Project Rebirth